Objective: Digital fabrication of the reduced physical model of the AH Fratel at a scale of 1:10.
Destination: Study of a fish passage for successive basins, downstream of the Fratel dam.
Process: Parametric 3D CAD design, rapid prototyping/digital fabrication using additive (3D printing) and subtractive (CNC machining) manufacturing techniques.
Development: 3D modelling in Fusion 360; 3D printing of thermoplastic parts in PETG; CNC machining of sheets of different materials including aluminium composite and polyethylene.
In 2022, EDP Produção's Engineering Department studied a passage for fish from successive basins, downstream of the Fratel dam. In order to deepen the hydraulic characterisation of the solution and optimise its operation, LNEC - Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil was contracted to carry out tests on a reduced physical model. This approach makes it possible to simulate the hydraulic flow inside the fish passage and its surroundings, which are strongly three-dimensional, with a high degree of precision. When designing the physical model, it was necessary to provide for some mechanisms that would allow for flexibility of shape, with a view to optimising hydraulic behaviour during laboratory tests.
FabLab EDP, which has been cooperating with LNEC on the design of reduced physical models since 2017, digitally fabricated the entire dam model at a scale of 1:10, starting from the output of the three generator sets, making it possible to model the downstream part of the dam and structures such as walls, pillars and orifices.
In the summer of 2023, the tests were completed at LNEC and the proposed objectives were achieved, namely detailed hydraulic characterisation and optimisation of the operation of the fish passage.